Welcome to the blog for the Villanova English department! Visit often for updates on department events, guest speakers, faculty and student accomplishments, and reviews and musings from professors and undergraduates alike.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Alumni Profile: Christine Guerrini, Class of 2009

Occupation:  Marketing Specialist--Social Media, Aramark Higher Education

Major:  English.  Concentrations:  Honors, Writing and Rhetoric

What she does:  “In this position, I am challenged to explore innovative social marketing strategies for the college audience, scale those strategies across our portfolio of over 300 colleges, and provide monthly evaluations of our success.  I recently ended a five-month pilot of Instagram, which has shown significant potential to increase engagement with our students.”

Why did you choose to major in English at Villanova?  “I declared my major as early as possible, mostly because I knew I enjoyed reading and writing.  What I quickly found out was that my courses would provide me with an invaluable skill-set for the future: the ability to create thought-provoking arguments, back them up with specific facts, and convey them in a persuasive but concise manner.  I couldn't be happier with my experience or more proud to tell others that I majored in English.”

What was the best part of your experience at Villanova?  “Villanova is not just a school; it's a community.  With that in mind, the people were the best part of my experience.  I met students, faculty and staff who truly inspired me with their intelligence, talents, selflessness, perseverance and humor.  These people prepared me to have a successful career but, more importantly, they prepared me to be a better person in every aspect of my life.

Because I majored in English at Villanova…"I can see the world in both a creative and an analytical light."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jeff Silverman Award

In its 2014 Writing Contest, the Golf Writers Association of America awarded Villanova English professor Jeff Silverman second place in the non-daily feature category for a piece in Golf World about prisoners playing golf in a Nazi POW camp during World War II.  As Jeff writes, the prisoners played with balls made from scavenged items like old gym shoes, bicycle inner tubes, tobacco pouches, bandages, cotton, leather, and thread, and with clubs made from branches and hockey sticks (with some heads molded with melted foil from cigarette wrappers and discarded tin).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin Lecture

Noted literary historian Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin, the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University, will give a talk (details below) on "In Sound and Word:  Black Women Artists and The Work of Freedom."  She is the author of numerous books, including her latest, Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II.

Publication Internships with Villanova Office of Health Promotion

Under the supervision of the Director of the Villanova Office of Health Promotion, the Publications Intern will write and edit two primary monthly publications, the Stall Street Journal and Health Bytes.  This encompasses the development, writing and editing of sixteen total publications on topics related to the six dimensions of health: physical, social, intellectual, emotional, cultural and spiritual.  All interns will support the mission of Villanova University and the Office of Health Promotion by respecting community ideals of Augustinian teachings.

This position requires the student to earn three academic credits.  Approval from the student’s academic department for credit, as well as an identified academic advisor must be submitted to the Office of Health Promotion prior to acceptance of the position.  The Office of Health Promotion will begin accepting applications March 2014, making all offers by April 2014, and requiring documentation of approved academic credit and advisor by May 2014.

Click here for more information about the Office of Health Promotion.  The internship application form is attached to Dr. Radcliffe's 2/17/14 email to English majors.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

BRIDGE Society Professional Development Conference

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, The BRIDGE Society will be hosting the first student-run professional development conference. This will be an opportunity for students to learn about interesting professional development experiences, opportunities, and how to make them happen, enhancing your journey from college to career.

LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITY: Call for Presentation Proposals
Presenting at a conference is a leadership act, but it's the act of giving, sharing, and helping others that truly defines a leader. It's asking questions and proactively seeking answers from professionals, and then sharing those answers and your experience, ideas, and advice with others—that is LEADERSHIP.

We’re interested in working with LAS students to create proposals on interesting professional development topics and experiences to be researched and presented at the 2014 BRIDGE Society Conference, for example:
--Learn How to Maximize your Sophomore and Junior Years with Internships, Courses, and    Leadership Activities
--Explore Your Potential Path with a Degree in the Sciences: Find Out about Nontraditional Jobs in Business, Nonprofits, and Law
--Learn How to Develop a Mentoring Relationship with Alumni

Proposals must be submitted online by Friday, February 21.

A series of 1-hour, drop-in workshops will be held during the week of February 17 in order to assist students in coming up with, refining, and submitting proposal ideas.
Drop-in Proposal Workshops
Monday, Feb. 17 .......... 12:00pm, Bartley 2072
Tuesday, Feb. 18 ......... 12:00pm, Driscol 246
Tuesday, Feb. 18 .......... 5:00pm, Bartley 2046
Wednesday, Feb. 19 .... 12:00pm, Bartley 2072
Wednesday, Feb. 19 ..... 5:00pm, Bartley 2072
Thursday, Feb. 20 ........ 12:00pm, Driscoll 246
Thursday, Feb. 20 ......... 5:00pm, Bartley 2406
Friday, Feb. 21* ........... 12:00pm, Bartley 2072
* This will be a 2-hour workshop to assist with final proposal submission

For questions or more information please email: bridgesocietyconference2014@gmail.com

Kristin Stewart Poem

Kristin Stewart recently published her first poem, "My Heart Is a Wiffle Ball/Freedom Pole," in Marie Claire, and the English department's Dr. Kamran Javadizadeh has been quoted in an article assessing the poem's worth (click here to read the entire article).  

From the article (by Leslie Gornstein):
"Emily Dickinson once said, '"If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,'" Villanova University assistant professor of English Kamran Javadizadeh tells me. "By that measure, I'm not sure 'My Heart Is a Wiffle Ball/Freedom Pole' quite makes the cut." 

"Take a line like 'Your nature perforated the abrasive organ pumps.' The best metaphors shock us because they show us something strange about what had seemed familiar. In order for that to work, though, readers need some kind of initial foothold, some place to begin. And I'm not finding that foothold here."
Poet Kristin Stewart

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Prof. Jeff Silverman Wins Herbert Warren Wind Award

Prof. Jeff Silverman’s Merion: The Championship Story is the 2013 recipient of the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award. This extensively researched and carefully crafted book explores every aspect of one of the most respected and beloved clubs in the game. Merion’s successful hosting of the 2013 U.S. Open, 32 years after it last hosted the championship, was the final chapter in Silverman’s work. The club has hosted more USGA championships (18) than any other, making it a rich subject for a work of this magnitude.

Established in 1987, the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to golf literature while attempting to broaden the public’s interest in, and knowledge of, the game of golf. Wind, who died in 2005, was the famed writer for The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated who coined the phrase “Amen Corner” at Augusta National. He is the only writer to win the USGA’s Bob Jones Award, the Association’s highest honor.

The Herbert Warren Wind Book Award
Silverman received the award on Sat., Feb. 8, at Pinehurst, North Carolina, site of the 2014 U.S. Open championships for both men and women.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Literary Festival: Frank Bidart

Italian translation of Prof. Alan Drew’s novel

The Italian translation of Prof. Alan Drew’s novel Gardens of Water (Nei Giardini d'Acqua) has been chosen by the best-selling Italian weekly magazine Oggi for its series of international novels “Mille Splendide Storie” (“A Thousand Beautiful Stories”).  Gardens of Water, called “a deep and touching novel that has moved readers around the world,” is one of 10 novels in the series.  Along with Italian, Gardens of Water has been translated into Spanish, German, Hebrew, Indonesian, and a number of other languages.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Seamus Heaney Tribute at Kelly Writers House

Seamus Heaney wrote some of the most memorable and best-loved poetry of the last half-century. On Monday, February 10th, at 6:00 p.m., Penn English and Kelly Writers House host a tribute to Heaney with a program of Irish music and readings by students, poets, professors, and Heaney enthusiasts of all stripes from Penn and the wider Philadelphia community.  Come celebrate the work of one of the great writers of our age.

Several Villanova faculty members are expected to participate in the tribute.  The Kelly Writers House is located at at 3805 Locust Walk on the Penn campus.